16 BEST perennials for Zone 9 landscaping: sun-loving, LOW MAINTENANCE, COLORFUL flowers or plants that attract hummingbirds & butterflies!
Best Perennials For Zone 9 That Add Color!
Our has had tons of flower beds when we moved in. I love the way they look. But they can be a lot of work! Especially if you have to add annuals every year.
SO, for the last few years I’ve been filling our flower beds with ONLY low maintenance, colorful perennials that grow well in part sun and full sun flower beds.
This list is full of the prettiest flowers and plants that have always done well in my Houston, Texas (Zone 9) landscaping.
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Why Are These Plants “The Best”??
There are 6 main reasons that these plants have been added to my picks for the best perennials for Zone 9. I already mentioned a few of them above. First, these perennials are very low maintenance.
Second, every one of these plants has colorful leaves and/or flowers that add tons of color to my yard.
And, they all add that color for at least 4 months a year. Some of them even have blooming flowers for up to 9 months a year!
Those flowers attract tons of birds, bees, and butterflies to my yard. In fact, I have a few hummingbird families and tons of butterflies in my yard every year.
They’ve also all done well for me during years of drought and years of daily Summer rain. They’re hardy and easy to grow in Zone 9! And, these perennials grow well in our full sun and partial sun flower beds.
And, last but certainly not least, almost all of these plants fill in their section of the flower bed so well that they block most weed growth. Which means A LOT less weeding for me!
That’s it for why I picked these plants, let’s get to that list.
1. Mealycup Sage aka Blue Salvia (Salvia Farinacea)
I LOVE this easy to grow, drought-resistant plant for our yard in Houston, Texas. This plant produces flowers for at least half of the year in our area.
And, the pretty purply-blue flowers on the Mealycup Sage attract so many pollinating bees and hummingbirds to our yard. I’m always a big fan of plants that support and attract wildlife!
This low maintenance plant is also great at filling in any open areas around it. So, it blocks out most of the weeds that I normally see in my flower beds. That means I weed a lot less around Mealycup sage!
2. Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias Curassavica)
For the last 10 years, I’ve had one whole flowerbed on the side of my house dedicated to tropical milkweed. It’s made my yard a yearly nesting ground for endangered Monarch Butterflies.
Every year I love to watch these native milkweed plants get covered with caterpillars that eat up the leaves, make their chrysalis’ all over my yard, then turn into beautiful butterflies.
And, all of those dozens and dozens of Monarchs stick around for months pollinating and feeding off of all of the other flowers on this list.
Milkweed is pretty low maintenance. But Milkweed seeds can spread easily to nearby flower beds, grass, and gardens. So, once or twice a year, you should pull out any sprouts in areas you don’t want them.
I usually just replant those new shoots in my milkweed flower bed. They almost always survive that transplanting with just a few days of watering them in.
3. Chaste Tree aka Sage Tree (Vitex Agnus-Castus)
If you’re looking for a tall flowering plant, this Chaste tree is a great option. It’s actually a bushy shrub that can grow pretty tall. In Zone 9, it will likely loose it’s leaves in the winter.
But, it has beautiful purple flowers that attract tons of butterflies and pollinating insects 4 to 5 months of the year.
4. Trailing Lantana (Lantana Montevidensis)
I love a Lantana. There are so many colorful varieties that grow in many different parts of the world. This purple Trailing Lantana is on my list of best perennials for Zone 9 because it requires almost no effort.
This type of Lantana is a LOW flowering plant that blooms most of the year. It only reaches about 1 to 2 feet high. But, it spreads out well. And, it’s pretty good at reducing weed growth where it’s planted too.
The only maintenance I really need to do on this Trailing Lantana is occasionally trimming it back to keep it where I want it. And, removing a few dead looking branches or brown areas once a year.
5. Turk’s Cap aka Wax Mallow (Malvaviscus Arboreus)
Our big Turk’s Cap is a huge draw for the hummingbird’s that nest in our yard. We usually have 6 to 8 hummingbird’s going back and forth from their nests to the Turk’s Cap all summer long.
You can see those hummingbirds flying around our Turk’s Cap in the video below. I really need to plant another Turk’s Cap on the other side of our backyard.
I LOVE having little twittering hummingbirds around while we swim. It’s adorable!
This is another plant that gets thicker and thicker every year. Which blocks out the weeds around it. And, the bright red flowers on the Turk’s Cap bloom for almost half a year in our Houston, Texas yard.
6. American Beautyberry (Callicarpa Americana)
The American Beautyberry is another large bushy plant with great summer/fall color.
This plants color comes from small, whitish flowers in the early summer, that turn into light pink/purple berries mid-summer, and finally become small clusters of purple berries in late summer and fall.
Those berries are a favorite food of robins, cardinals, mockingbirds, finches, and many other birds. And, because it’s such a dense, bushy plant, birds also love to shelter inside of it.
The American Beautyberry is native to most of the American south and southeastern states. So, it’s a low maintenance plant that is very easy to grow in Zone 9.
You can see in the video below a large grouping of Turk’s Cap and American Beautyberry together. The red flowers and purple berries look beautiful together.
And, that combo of plants makes a great feeding and hiding spot for SO MANY birds and butterflies.
7. Common Lantana (Lantana Camara)
This pick for my list of best perennials for Zone 9 might be controversial for anyone that’s had a bad experience with an invasive variety of Common Lantana.
But, don’t worry, if you don’t want this plant to overspread, but you do like the look of it’s pretty, butterfly-attracting flowers, you can find sterile versions of Common Lantana that aren’t invasive.
Gold Mound (yellow), New Gold (yellow), Alba (white), and Patriot (rainbow) are all certified to be sterile varieties by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council.
I prefer the Patriot Common Lantana because of it’s pretty mix of purple, orange and yellow flowers!
This low maintenance lantana provides tons of bright-colored flowers for 6 to 8 months of the year, depending on how warm it is that year.
8. Firecracker Plant (Cuphea Ignea)
In Zone 9 areas, like Houston, Texas, the firecracker plant has been a popular border plant because it stays at or below 2 feet tall.
This flowering shrub is another low maintenance gem that blooms during Spring, Summer, and Fall. And, check out how pretty those bright, little blooms are.
I love them! Some of my favorite pollinators, like bees and hummingbirds love them too.
9. Mexican Petunia (Ruellia Simplex)
For the last few years, I’ve really embraced the Mexican Petunia in our yard. I’ve been carefully spreading out the new growth around my beds as border plants and filler under our Knock Out Roses and trees.
They grow such tight little root balls that 99% of the weeds that we normally get in those spots cannot grow inside of them. So, they’ve become my new best friend at preventing weeds!
And, they reproduce so easily, I never have to buy any. Once or twice a year, I remove any growth that’s outside of where I want it. Then I move some of that to spots where I do.
Best of all, the Mexican Petunia has pretty purple blooms from Spring through Fall.
10. Knock Out Rose (Rosa Chinensis)
In my book, the Knock Out Rose is truly a legend! They’re so easy to grow in most parts of the US. I loved them when I lived in Ohio. And, I love them in Texas.
The Red Double Knock Out seems to grow better than the lighter pink in our yard. But they both do very well. It’s a pretty, low maintenance way to add tons of color to any Zone 9 landscaping plan.
Our Knock Out roses will continually bloom for 8 to 9 months of the year! I’ll sometimes still have blooms at Christmas, during warm winters. That’s amazing!
I’m such a fan of these hardy, long-blooming plants. Best of all, you never need to dead head this rose. Just trim it back once or twice a year.
11. Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia Indica)
We have Crepe Myrtles trees and smaller bush-sized Crepe Myrtles that we keep trimmed low. I’m a big fan of the unique blooms on this easy to grow plant!
In Zone 9, I get 4 to 5 months of blooms on our Crepe Myrtle.
The Crepe Myrtle is an ornamental plant that doesn’t have aggressive roots. In fact, it’s roots typically grow down instead of out. So, they’re safe near sidewalks, driveways, and foundations.
You can buy Crepe Myrtle varieties with purple, pink, red, and white flowers. They’re a drought tolerant, low maintenance, and will produce a few free baby Crepe’s for me every year.
Once or twice a year, I pull those new shoots or transplant them to a new spot, if I have room for it. The seed pods the plant produces in the Fall are a popular source of winter food for many bird species.
12. Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia Leucantha)
Here’s another low maintenance plant on my list of best perennials for Zone 9 that attracts butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds to my yard.
It has pretty blooms from Spring through Fall. It’s drought-tolerant. And, another plant that fills in it’s area so well that it blocks almost all weed growth inside it.
13. Rock Rose aka Texas Swamp-Mallow (Pavonia Lasiopetala)
This Rock Rose is another champion when it comes to being low maintenance, drought-tolerant, and super easy to grow! This plant is a Texas native that can be used in warmer climates, like ours.
Since it bushes up nicely and only grows about 2 feet high, it’s another great border plant in front of bushes or taller plants.
And, I LOVE that medium hot pink flower that blooms from Spring through Fall in our Zone 9 landscaping. The bees, butterflies, and other pollinators in our yard love those blooms too.
14. Sweet Potato Vine (Ipomoea Batatas)
The Sweet Potato Vine is the only plant on this list that needs shade to partial sun in hot, hot Houston, Texas. In fact, it’ll need partial shade in most sunny, Zone 9 yards.
The Sweet Potato Vine can do well in Full Sun in more northern areas. But the Summer sun in the south can burn these vines.
So, I use this colorful, purple vine under my large ornamental ball trees. That way it gets mostly shade during the hottest part of the day.
Putting them under our trees has been a great, easy ground cover for an area that nothing else grew on.
15. Chinese Fringe Flower aka Redleaf loropetalum
This colorful bush is another one of my best Zone 9 plants for color. The purple leaves are pretty year-round. And, it gets pretty, hot pink blooms in Spring that are SO GOOD.
This shrub is very low maintenance and easy to trim to keep it whatever height or size you need. Just avoid trimming it during the hottest months, just in case it’s stressed.
This pretty bush has done well in Full Sun and Part Sun in my yard. And, when it’s mature, it’s a great privacy screen because it’s leaves are so dense.
I love putting a colorful, low border plant in front of this purple bush. The rainbow colors of the Patriot Common Lantana look very nice in front of the Chinese Fringe Flower.
16. Cuban Gold Duranta aka Golden Dewdrop (Duranta Erecta)
Last but not least on this list is the Cuban Gold Duranta. The pretty yellow-green leaf on this bush has added a nice pop of color to my yard in the winter.
In fact, this easy to grow yellow bush and the purple leaves of our Chinese Fringe Flowers and Knock Out Roses are the main source of color in our flower beds during the 2 to 3 months of winter we have in Zone 9.
This pretty yellow bush will have even prettier blue blooms in the summer, if it gets Full Sun. This little bush only grows up to 2 feet tall.
So, it’s another great way to add color in front of basic green plants or bright purple leaved plants.
Best Perennials For Zone 9 – Video Guide
Watch this video for a better look at these Zone 9 flowers and flowering shrubs.
That’s it for my picks for the BEST perennials for Zone 9. I hope this helped you find some great flowers and colorful plants for your yard.
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Feeling inspired? Now you’ve seen this list of Best Perennials for Zone 9, get out there and start planting!